There used to be a time when an author passed away that meant their storytelling was over. However, in the modern publishing world anything goes, be that a new Peter Rabbit book, or a continuation of Sherlock Holmes. The important thing is to treat the source material kindly and in the case of Robert B Parker's Spenser, you will have to appeal to a bunch of super fans. Ace Atkins has taken on this task with `Lullaby,' a direct continuation of Spenser's adventures. This time the PI is aiming to help a 14 year old discover who really killed her mother.
Although Parker did not write this book, Atkins was able to capture his voice well. There are plenty of quips and the violence is solid and believable. Unfortunately for me, Atkins also captured some of the slow pacing and repetitive storytelling that hounded Parker's later work. `Lullaby' at times threatened to send me to sleep. Whilst the first half is pretty pacy, the second gets bogged down in a lot of characters that slightly confused me. Things did not really pick up until an action packed finale that almost made it worth it.
`Lullaby' is not a bad book, but just a little flat. It almost sticks too closely to the tropes that made Spenser so popular. I prefer the later books that moved the character away from his comfort zone e.g. `Hugger Mugger'. Atkins is a worthy successor to the franchise and I feel that Spenser is in a true fan's hands, I just hope that he is not frightened of the legacy and at some point soon stamps his own style onto the character and world of Spenser.